My life is a fair bit different than it was four years ago.
Many of you knew me then, but I’m going to guess that most of the people reading nowadays didn’t. I want to share a personal story of what would seem like an insignificant event in my life and how it really helped me get through some tough times.
2009 was a weird year for me. Things weren’t exactly positive then. Making the transition from graduate school to the real world was difficult for me, and, even three years after I had finished graduate school, I had a lot of difficulty getting used to having a job and significant bills to pay. I was in a relationship, but it was a dark time for that. My diet had gone to crap, and I was on my way to the worst shape of my life. Pizza Hut was close to home, and a common thing for me to do on a Friday night was pick up three medium pizzas and an order of dessert breadsticks (all for $15) to eat over the whole weekend. I may have saved a lot of money, but partaking that kind of eating regularly takes a major toll on your body.
In October 2009, I was getting sick a lot. The cultures were showing up negative for strep, but the doctor put me on antibiotics because it was common for me to get strep. After two rounds of antibiotics, I got sick again in November. I just couldn’t shake whatever it was.
I was a Netflix member back then, and I remember being frustrated by the fact that new releases sometimes took two months to be sent. I had the Nick Swardson: Seriously, Who Farted? DVD on my queue for almost a month before I decided that I was just going to spend the $15 to buy my own copy.
I had become a fan of Nick from Grandma’s Boy, and his appearances on Comedy Central Presents, so I was really excited to see his first full length standup DVD.
I actually remember the weekend that I watched the DVD very vividly. Thursday, November 12, Metallica, my favorite band, came to Albany and rocked the house. I was so sick that it was difficult to fully enjoy it, but it was a once in a lifetime event, so I had to go. On Saturday, I was supposed to meet some friends, but I cancelled because I had serious chills. I popped in the DVD, started watching it, and noticed a friend request on facebook.
It was from Nick Swardson…while I was watching his DVD.
I got a bit of an adrenaline rush, but I also immediately thought someone was screwing with me. I reached out to everyone who would play sick jokes like that on me, as if they’d even admit to it. Nobody did. So I accepted the request and scoped the profile out. There were a bunch of pictures of Nick and some status updates that sounded like him, but I still didn’t believe it; impostor profiles are a common thing.
After I finished watching the DVD, I left “Nick” a wall message alluding to the fact that I loved it. He almost instantly responded, thanked me, and commiserated being sick like I was. I still didn’t believe it was him.
He left a comment on the “sweet belt” I was holding in my awesome facebook profile picture.
I still wasn’t convinced, but I went about my life with the possibility that I had just conversed with Nick Swardson.
A few days later, “Nick” checked in asking me how I was doing. That was surprising. Here’s a professional actor and comedian taking time from whatever he’s doing to even think about how I’m feeling; even if it wasn’t him, it was a nice gesture. We talked on there back and forth a bit, and I found out that we were both on Xbox Live and that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 was all we were playing. He sent me a private message with his gamer tag.
I left him a voice message on Xbox one night, and figured that it should be easy to identify if it was him if he responded; he has a fairly unique voice. Lo and behold, the next morning, I awoke to a response; it was definitely Nick. The stars aligned such that we were involved in some online matches once or twice, and, true to Nick’s disposition, he was being his very entertaining self over Xbox Live. Since he’s on the west coast and likes to game in the middle of the night, it’s difficult to find a time that we’re online gaming at the same time.
Since then, we’ve exchanged some messages, and conversed a bit more. He’s worked on some projects that haven’t really caught on commercially, but, as a fan, I appreciate most of what he does, and I like to let him know occasionally, hopefully without being annoying. Things like Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star or Nick Swardson’s Pretend Time aren’t for everybody, but are very true to Nick’s unique style.
By Thanksgiving 2009, I had finally started to shake whatever it was that I had, and things were heading toward the upswing for me. Without a doubt, as small as it may seem to you, interacting with Nick Swardson was my biggest highlight of 2009.
[Last week, at the gym, I was flipping through the channels while doing my cardio, and Seriously, Who Farted? was on Comedy central. I clearly had to watch it, and it reminded me of how awesome this story is to me.]